Tag Archives: Joe

Has It All Been In Vain? Questions After 9 Years of Widowhood

Was Joe’s passing all in vain?

Did people learn lesson’s from his passing?

Here today and gone tomorrow

What lessons if any have I learned?

I know marriages and family relationships are not perfect. Relationships are made up of humans, flawed imperfect humans. There will be bickering. but why do we resist spending time together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

It was 9 years ago today Joe had a stroke at the base of the brain, it will be 9 years tomorrow that he was pronounced brain dead.

He was alive mentally and physically on the 27th. He was vibrant, full of life, love, laughter, joy. He frustrated me because I had to go get the other TV cart in the TV lounge in the rehab department. One TV cart is the same as the other –  right? No, not to Joe.

So full of life one evening and gone 11 hours later.

Knowing my heart aches for slow dances, hugs, cuddling while watching TV, or just aches in general. Is that not enough to get other couples of any age to appreciate one another?

Is my achy breaky heart not enough to get people in general to appreciate and love one another?

To take or make the time to spend together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

When a spouse passes, your heart and soul ache in nooks and crannies you do  not know you have. The ache from grief can and will invade the same nooks and crannies when other family members move to heaven as well.

Questioning whether or not people learned lessons from Joe’s passing hurts and grieves me immensely. Fearing that there are people who did not learn lessons tears me up inside.

For your sake, love one another.

For your loved one’s sake, love one another.

Remember, here today and gone tomorrow.

Not them – you might be here today and gone tomorrow.

Leave no love unspoken or acted upon.

Don’t let yours or your loved one’s passing be in vain. Love one another – now.



31 Days of Joy: Day 8 – Memories of Sleeping Together

The wonderful thing about this time of year is Rommie (golden retriever) gets cold at night.  When she does she jumps into bed with me, well she use to jump into bed.  Because of her hip dysplasia, she puts her 2 front paws up on the bed and I lift her rear end up.  Unfortunately, my master bedroom is too small for a ramp or steps for the bed.

It reminded me of times when Joe, Rommie and I would take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon siesta. The 3 of us laying on our bed drifting off to sleep. It was during those few moments before sleep overtook me that I would lay there thanking God for the special moment and thinking now THIS is heaven on earth!

There was such a deep, joyful peace in my heart as the sandman knocked me out.

It was those warm, sweet memories that came flooding back last night as Rommie snuggled with me – for about 20 minutes then decided she was too warm. The hardwood floor was more comfortable.

Oh well, the weather is only going to get colder and that means there will be nights when she will sleep with me all night.

Rommie enjoying a late summer day.

Rommie enjoying a late summer day.

Anniversary Post: Michele The Prophet

On this the 6th anniversary of Joe’s passing, I thought I would share our house hunting adventure and my prophecy.

In The Beginning 

The beginning started in March 1999 after 7 years of apartment dwelling, where we heard our upstairs neighbor’s headboard rapidly banging against the wall several nights a week.

Every Saturday we were out with our realtor and every Sunday we went to open houses. Joe was the driver and I was the navigator as we decided to move to a new city.

This went on for months.

At one point I told Joe if we were not in a house by New Year’s Eve, he could house hunt for himself in 2000 because I was staying in the apartment.  I saw several houses that would have made wonderful homes, but they were unacceptable according to Joe’s standards.


Early one July Saturday morning we looked at a 3 bedroom ranch with a covered deck and a big back yard, perfect for a dog. After the showing we stood in the driveway and our realtor asked if we wanted to go write a contract. I said “Yes!” However Joe said “We’ve not eaten yet, so let us go have breakfast and discuss it.” UGH!  I wanted to strangle him right then and there. To the local Denny’s for breakfast, we went. It was during the middle of breakfast at Denny’s Joe called and set up an appointment for us to sit down and write a contract. It was accepted and we finally had our first house.

Fast Forward To Sometime After Taking Possession

Shortly after we moved in I mention something about this being our first and last home. He said “You mean, you do not want to build a big, new home someday?”

I told him “No!”  “If you want to move into a big, new home, you are moving in with another Mrs. Kearns because this one is staying put right here.”

Fast Forward to 2008 Six years ago today Joe moved into his big, new house in heaven.  He now resides with several Mrs. Kearns’ – his mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and all the Mrs. Kearns’ prior to them, while I stay put here in this 3 bedroom ranch with Rommie.

Hmmmmmmm…Sounds like a prophecy fulfilled to me.

Sorry Joe But…”You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

As the 6th anniversary of Joe’s move to heaven approaches, I find myself thinking about the things he wanted me to do if I outlived him.

What Joe Wanted

A life of pain and agony is not what Joe wanted for me, as we had this discussion many times. He wanted me to move forward with life by:

  • Excelling in my career at the bank.
  • Dating again.
  • Marrying again.

What He Got

Here’s how each one of his wishes turned out, in addition to some things he never expected.

  • Excelling in my career at the bank – I am glad he was positive about me being having a successful career at the bank. However, the joke was on him as I was laid off in 2009.
  • Dating again – Once again the joke is on him as men my age suffer from the “George Clooney” syndrome and only want 25 – 35 yr old ladies on their arm. Plus I choose to meet men the old fashioned way – in person. That opportunity has not presented itself, at least no yet. While I might be forward thinking in some area’s of life (blogging), meeting someone online gives me the creeps. Although it would make an interesting blog series.   😉
  • Marrying again (see Dating).
  • Learning to blog – He taught me about computers but never about blogging or website design.
  • Resume writing – Joe was my resume writer so when I got laid off I was upset at him. How dare he leave me with to do this on my own. However, I learned how to do it and it really is not so bad, unlike writing cover letters.
  • Job Search – He would be dazed and confused at what all is involved in finding a job now. I am sure he is impressed with how I’ve handled it, especially the networking.

So he never got what he wanted but hopefully he is glad at some of the things that happened since his move to heaven.

Remember Joe,

You can’t always get what you want.

The Rolling Stones



Michele’s Being Considered For A KSU Alumni Award

Yesterday I receive a letter from Kent State University’s Alumni Association congratulating me on being nominated for the Distinguished Citizen Alumni Award. Now in all fairness, I nominated myself. The alumni association sent out an email stating that one could nominate themselves – so I did.

Here is more about the award.

The Distinguished Citizen Award honors alumni for their extraordinary service to the public in nonprofit organization or outstanding community service. This award recognizes those individuals who have unselfishly and generously contributed their time and talents for the enrichment of others and the betterment of their community.

The work I did that resulted in the alumni awards committee accepting and considering my nomination – all the work I do on this blog and co-facilitating the GriefShare support group. I also mentioned my work with Golden Retrievers In Need (G.R.I.N.).

I will know in May whether or not I will receive the Distinguished Citizen Alumni Award to be presented on October 17, the day before Homecoming.

Receiving this award will be wonderful. The publicity will help spread the word about JoyReturns and increase the chance of helping other widows through their grief journey. It would also educate family and friends about the good, bad, ugly and joyous adventures their loved one could face now that she is a widow.

How God Works

This is how God works.  He made sure some good came from Joe’s passing. It was one morning before I opened my eyes that I heard the words “Widow’s Website” in my head. I am not a morning person and there is no way I could form an idea like “Widow’s Website” before getting out of bed. Those words were placed in my brain by God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Joyous But Bittersweet

This is an example of a joyous but bittersweet moment one faces periodically after a loved one’s passing. It is a joy to be considered for this award but this nomination would not have happened without JoyReturns, which would not have happened without Joe moving to heaven.

Thank You

Thank you to my family and friends for your support during the past 3 years. When I say friends, I also mean my readers and fellow bloggers, for I consider you my friends even though we have never met in person.

Thank you to God for putting the idea in my head and showing me there is a use for my conversational writing style. You would not want a scientist writing a grief support blog as his/her style would be too formal and technical.

Thank you to Valerie, a fellow widow who also had to deal with grief and unemployment.  Both her joy and a job have returned.  I am honored you chose JoyReturns to help you during your journey.

Thank you to the alumni awards committee for considering me for the Distinguished Citizen Alumni Award.

Stay Tuned

I will let you know in May whether I will be receiving this award or if it goes to another distinguished alumni.


40 + 2 Days of Joy

Well it was 60 or 70+ degrees this weekend.  Not really sure because the indoor/outdoor thermometer is busted.  It measures the temp inside but not outside.

So I did some yard work yesterday, did some dusting and sweeping today, aired out the house and put the Christmas decorations up.


Yes, I put up the manger set Joe’s friend and former boss made for Joe’s mother.  It has not been up since 2006 or 2007.  Don’t remember if I put it up for our last Christmas.  The set has become even more special because Joe’s friend passed away in June 2010.  So if something breaks no call to Beth for a replacement figurine.

This will be the last Christmas it is up at my house.

Next year it will go to Joe’s nieces and nephew.  That is where it belongs and they can rotate it between their houses from year to year.


Now the reason, this got put up is I am finally starting on this year’s Christmas series.  I better bust my butt and get it put to bed since it is right around the corner.  The only thing I know about the series is on weekends there will be my favorite Christmas songs, instead of recipes like last year.  The series is survival tips and thoughts about how a first year widow can survive the holiday season, but the tips are general enough that they can be applied to anyone stressed out from all the season’s chaos.

The series will run from Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Day is called 40 + 2 Days of Joy (last year’s was 40 Days of Joy).

So I’d better quit writing this and get to work on the series, launch date is right around the corner.

Have a blessed week everyone.

“Manger Set”


“Joy to the World, the Lord has come.”

Another Dimension To Missing Joe


The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 

Titus 2:11


I was thinking today about Joe and somewhere along the line I realized I miss sharing in his accomplishments.

New Every 5

The company Joe worked for had a policy of moving to a new location every 5 years.  Joe moved the office twice.  It was not just the computer network, but the phone and security system as well.  Now there were some people from the phone and security companies on site but Joe ran the show.  He put in a lot of extra hours making sure everything was up and running on time with as few hiccups as possible. 

Jet-Setter Joe

He also traveled around the country (only in the winter) installing software at the company’s different locations.  Before he left each site, he had things working. If the staff at the site had issues or questions about the software, he was always available to answer questions or trouble shoot problems.   

Missed Joy

I miss sharing his joy in accomplishing major tasks.  I miss giving him a big bear-hug after he came home from jet-setting across the country or going out for a nice celebration dinner after the office was moved.   

Just when you think you’ve thought of all the ways/things you miss about your spouse, something new comes along just when you least expect it.


“If you move old furniture, may it fall to bits.”  Irish Proverb


Coming Tomorrow – It’s Award Season Here At JoyReturns!

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